Alleged sex predator rabbi can be extradited to Israel
The Netherlands is allowed to extradite Rabbi Eliezer Berland to Israel, a court in Haarlem, Noord-Holland ruled Thursday. Dutch justice and security minister Ivo Opstellen must now decide if Berland will in fact be transferred to Israel. The case of the “sex pest rabbi,” as some media have come to call the 77-year-old itinerant Israeli, fulfills extradition criteria set out by the European Convention on Extradition as well as Dutch extradition law, the ruling states. The court in Haarlem rejected all objections to the extradition made by Berland's attorney, Louis de Leon, reports NU.nl. Berland was arrested in the Netherlands on September 11, 2014, upon arrival at Schiphol airport. He had been on the run for two years after charges were filed against him in Israel alleging sexual abuse of young women in the Shuvu Banim Hassidic sect that he founded and led. After learning that he was wanted for questioning, he fled Israel. The rabbi has since said he had no bad intentions towards the women accusing him of sexual assault. “Sex? No, no, no. I had surgery on my prostate. All lust is gone. I never touched those women,” he said in an interview with de Volkskrant published last month. Earlier this month, the Dutch Public Prosecutor (OM) had asked the court in Haarlem to confirm the extradition would be a legal move, according to NU.nl.